Effrenata Lifestyle Festival – Kitty reads aloud to a live audience!

And now for something completely different, as they say…

A trusted friend called me up one evening with a proposal.

“I’ve got a massive opportunity for you!”

I’d never heard of Effrenata before and I was intrigued. A lifestyle festival, you say? Outdoors in rural Warwickshire? To read aloud to a load of kinksters…?

Oh, go on then! what’s the worst that can happen?

Snip20150918_2
Photo by Kash-R Photography. Stunning landscape. Luckily, the horse seemed unperturbed by the goings-on!

 

 

As the event drew nearer, I began to get nervous. When I first picked up my pen and wrote my stories all those months ago, I did not think for a second that I would ever be reading them ALOUD!

Vince&Sarah
Funky fancy dress!

I worried that I would stammer over my words, that people would be able to tell how nervous I was, and they wouldn’t like my chosen story. Maybe they would heckle and boo me off the stage! My nightmares involved me forgetting my bring my story to read from, becoming panic-stricken and bursting into tears.

Luckily, none of these things happened. It was a fabulous weekend and I really hope I get to do it again. Let me tell you more…

It was a line-up which packed some punch. Vince Vega  and Danny Rampling brought the marquee tent down (almost) with pumping tunes on the Friday and Saturday nights. An impeccable bar service was provided by the charismatic Scott Hawkins and his Artisan Bar Events throughout the weekend.

During the day, there were fetish demonstrations by wonderland, including some intriguing work involving stapling a lady’s back and threading ribbons through them to create the look of a corset woven into her skin. Utterly and magnificently beautiful in a strange way. I almost went for it myself!

Then, of course, there was little old me, with my story, reading to an exclusive audience of kinksters. I very pleased to say it went very well. I did not stammer my words. I did not panic and run screaming from the stage. Most of all, no one booed or heckled! After I had finished, there was a short question and answer session and then my audience gave me a most welcome round of applause, and I got myself a well-earned drink!

All in all, a fantastic weekend, and something which I am considering doing again in the future. It was great to connect with readers directly, and have them listening intently to my work. I was even lucky enough to be approached by some of them to ask for advice on how to start writing.

Well, I guess now that Autumn is well and truly upon us, the festival season is over for another year. However, come 2016, look out for me in a marquee near you. Stay tuned to my Facebook page and Twitter feed for more up-to-the-minute news about public appearances!

Sexpectations: How Often Is Enough?

sex-relationships

A number of friends have recently approached me to ask if I have a few moments for a chat.

Nothing unusual about that, you might say. But what if I told you that these friends are male, and they all want to talk about their sex life (or lack of same)? What, then?

The question is always the same. “Kitty,” they plead. “I’m at the end of my tether. If I don’t have sex with her soon, I’m going to lose my mind. What can I do?”

The ‘her’ to which they refer is their wife or long-term girlfriend. It seems their Significant Others have decided, en masse, to refuse to have sex with their partners, and the men are going crazy about it. I can’t say I blame them.

In some cases, this has been going on for months, even years.

One poor soul told me his wife confessed on their wedding night that she just wasn’t into sex that much. He was devastated. He loves his wife dearly and can’t understand why she feels this way. She is beautiful, has a figure to die for, the perfect sense of humour, blah blah blah. In short, she sounds perfect in every way. Except one small thing. She hasn’t had sex with her husband in over six years.

This is an extreme case, among my friends. But I hear of women refusing their husbands for six months or more on a regular basis. I hear stories of holidays abroad with the children when the wife asks for twin beds on arrival at the hotel. I am told tales of them being accused of being a “sex-pest”, or “always wanting it”.

Now, I should point out here that a large majority of my friends are male. A forum thread I found while researching this post confirm that some women feel it too: read here.

But nevertheless, I am plagued by a nagging curiosity. What the hell is going on in these relationships? And, how many times per week/month is ‘normal’ anyway?

shutterstock_141473482

Relate, the marriage counselling service, offers some advice on the matter. For all sorts of reasons (becoming parents, stress, mental health issues, etc) it is perfectly normal for a person’s libido, whether male or female, to fluctuate throughout their lives. The key thing is, when you’re in a relationship with someone else, it affects them too, and communication is absolutely critical.

When I asked my friends “and have you talked to her about how you feel?”, invariably the answer is, “Well, erm… No, actually,” or “I can’t seem to find the right time.” At which point, I raise my eyes towards the ceiling and groan.

“What are you telling me for then? You’re not married to me, you fool!” tends to be my stock answer.

Which leads me to suspect that these particular guys are frustrated more with themselves, just for being rubbish at communication in their relationships. Perhaps if they worked on improving that, there wouldn’t be a sex issue at all.

I know to my cost how not communicating properly in a relationship can lead to all sorts of problems, and I also know how external issues and how we feel about ourselves can have a massive impact on how sexy we feel. If we don’t feel sexy, we’re not going to want any sex.

Sex counsellor Robert Weiss writes in the Huffington Post “As long as both partners in a relationship are open about their feelings and physical needs and both are satisfied with the frequency and quality of their sexuality, the couple can not only survive, but thrive.”

I’ve known for some years now that I have a fairly high libido compared to many women of my age (over 40). However, I am also the only one of my female friends who is single right now. In past relationships, I remember frantic periods of fucking like rabbits, followed by periods of relative calm.

I watched a documentary a few months ago on people who identify as asexual. By definition, this means they have no interest in sex and do not feel sexual attraction. In a society that increasingly places so much importance on sexuality, this seems like the last taboo. But these people can continue to have fulfilling, meaningful relationships.

So, how much is ‘not enough’ to you? Are you fulfilled? And, if not, what do you plan to do about it?

Ink or Pierce? Decisions, decisions…

I’m getting restless again. It’s only four months since my last tattoo and I want something else done already.

piercings1

I haven’t yet decided whether it will be another tattoo or a piercing this time, so I’m open to suggestions at this point.

Naturally, if I plump for the ink, there will be a continuation of the cat theme, which features in all six of the existing designs. My very first tat, the small outline of a cat in my lower back (that’s the ‘tramp stamp’ to most of you!), is now looking a little lonely all by itself, and it’s nowhere near as intricate as the others, so I think it would be great to have it embellished and expanded into something more artistic.

Alternatively, I could go for another piercing. I’ve had some great information about the fabled (and in my opinion, incredibly sexy) VCH (read more here) but I am also considering another pair of ear piercings. I have four each side already, so it would be nice to build them up a little more.

Anyway, all this research got me thinking. Body art and modifications are more and more popular and mainstream now than ever before. Why is it that we choose to bejewel and adorn ourselves in such a way?

tattoo1

The history of tattooing goes back to Neolithic times. A mummy was unearthed in South America who bore ink marks on the upper lip. The remains were dated to around 6000 BC (see here), so this is nothing new. However, until relatively recently, it was largely recognised as having prominence only in primitive tribal cultures.

In Western civilisations, it was largely used to distinguish those who had spent time in prison or been at war. There are records of soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War receiving tattoos.

Not until the 1970s did it become part of mainstream fashion in the West, often led by prominent artists in popular culture. The likes of Janis Joplin (who famously had a small heart inked onto her left breast) helped in shifting tattoos from something which marked someone out as an outcast, to being an acceptable form of self-expression.

Piercing, too, has had a colourful past. Apparently, there are references in the Kama Sutra to a piercing in the penis to enhance sexual enjoyment. (Who knew?!)

People choose to get tattoos and/or piercings for all sorts of reasons:

  • Identification – they want something meaningful to them, for example their Zodiac sign, or a favourite pattern or photo;
  • To honour loved ones – children’s names are often used, or a visual representation of something which reminds them of a deceased loved one;
  • Style, fashion statement – celtic bands, large flower patterns, angels, or whatever, these trends are constantly changing;
  • Prison/gang membership – still used, apparently, although I have no first-hand experience of this!
  • Other – tattoos can be a very effective way of covering scar tissue following surgery or an accident, improving body confidence in many cases.

For me, my tattoos and piercings are all very personal. Each one marks an event or person which has had a profound effect on my journey through this mortal plane of existence and I like to remember them.

So, who’s ready to share their photos of your ink? I’d really love to see them!

Ireland says “YES!” to Gay Pride

IMG_0805

Regular followers of this blog and of my Facebook page will know that I have a great passion for gay rights.

Imagine my delight, then, when my recent visit to Dublin happened to coincide with Gay Pride 2015.

IMG_0809There we were, attending our workshops in Parnell Square with all the diligence of brand new students, when the music started up and people started to arrive in the street below.

It was still 11am at this point, and I was finding it really difficult to concentrate on my studies, while tapping my toe to the pumping rhythms pouring through the open windows.

However, we managed to make it until our lunch break at 12.30, and a few of us escaped outside to watch the revellers (in their thousands by now) gathering to start their parade.

IMG_0814
Dublin Gay Pride 2015, sponsored by Skittles sweets!

Slightly more than half of me wanted desperately to join the march. I saw two girls holding hands, both in wedding dresses, heading up the parade. A proud testimony to the landmark referendum earlier this year, for sure. Just behind them were 26 individuals, each holding a banner for each one of the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland. A tear came to my eye; it was a very proud moment.

IMG_0806

 

 

A great day for Ireland, for the Gay Rights movement, and for the concept of Equality. Well done guys!

 

Tattoos: Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em..?

There was a time when only sailors and prisoners ever got tattoos. How times have changed!

My wonderful friend Huy Truong is a professional graphic designer. Recently, I commissioned him to come up with a design for a tattoo to celebrate a truly fantastic 2014, my first year as a publisher author. This is what he came up with:

kittytat
Kitty tat Design, commissioned by Huy Truong

His remit was very open. I said I wanted something to celebrate my author status. Perhaps a picture of me, maybe, surrounded by a couple of cats and some books. Something like that, I said. I was blown away by his results.

This will be my sixth tattoo. Each of them is cat-related and all mark specific periods or milestones in my life. They are sentimental events I wanted to remember especially and keep a permanent record of them. Separation and divorce, a particularly poignant love affair, and my own little cat’s portrait, they all have their place on my skin.

I love tattoos. Years before I had my first one, at the tender age of 28, I had yearned for one. I think there are a few reasons why.

Firstly, there’s the pain. I like the thought of enduring pain for something beautiful and meaningful. At this point, I feel the need to tell you that I’m not a mother, nor do I have any inclination to become one. I’m sure those of you who have endured the pain of childbirth will all agree that it’s very much worth it, for the children you have brought into this world.

Secondly, I think it’s a great way to exercise freedom of expression and individuality. Tattoos have become very personal items. It’s not uncommon to have them commissioned especially for you, as Huy has done for me. I know this image could be widely copied from the web and used again for someone else’s tattoo, but I also know it was designed personally for me, and with me in mind. That girl does kind of look a little like me, in a good light!

But, you know, there’s another reason why I keep getting tattoos. They are strangely addictive. I shall never forget my first one: a small stylish outline of a cat in the small of my back. The guy finished putting away the needle, sat back to admire his own handiwork, then said, “You know, one will never be enough. You will have more.”

It was a number of year before I went back, but I did. I have now embraced the fact that I shall keep getting them, as long as I have something to commemorate; an event or a milestone that is so important it deserves a permanent brand somewhere about my person. I am celebrating my expression of these moments in my life, that have made me who I am today.

I have a Pinterest board which captures some gorgeous, fantastic images of tattoos and piercings, so feel free to follow me here, and add your own if you like.

In the meantime, I shall be having this tattoo done some time early in 2015. Check out my Twitter page for an image soon!